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Vladimir Liberzon

Spider Project

INTRODUCTION
Spider Project Introduction

Spider Project is a powerful professional project


management software developed in Russia. The first SP
version was launched in 1993 and since then it has been
constantly improved. The current Version 11 is used in 34
countries.
Spider Project is an integrated software that contains
everything useful for good project and portfolio
management. It supports all traditional methods and tools,
and offers unique approaches and functions that have no
analogues in other software packages.
Spider Project is the only PM software that optimizes
resource, cost, and material constrained schedules and
budgets for projects and portfolios.
Spider Project Introduction

The unique features of Spider Project include:


Quantity Based Scheduling
Application and Management of Corporate Norms
Conditional Scheduling
Skill Scheduling
Cost and Material Leveling
Resource Critical Path Calculation
Resource-constrained Schedule Optimization
Cash and Material Flow Calculation and Management
Management of project archives and Trend Analysis
Quantitative Risk Analysis that takes into account all
existing constraints
Spider Project Introduction

The unique features of Spider Project include:


Calculation and Analysis of Success Probability Trends
Management of Project Time and Cost Buffers
Portfolio management taking into account project
priorities and all existing constraints
Multiple WBS, RBS, MBS
Management of Parallel Budgets
Line of Balance Reporting
and many others.
Spider Project Introduction

This presentation is an Intro to Spider Project.


We will show how new Spider Project users create their
first project and knowledge bases that may be used in
future projects.
We will use a sample project that will be created step by
step.
Your participation in this process will be highly
appreciated.
Please do not hesitate to interrupt me at any time to ask
questions.
Spider Project Introduction

Spider Project installation is easy: run the installation


program and answer one question only select a folder to
install the software.
The whole process takes less than five minutes.
No external software is needed, just any version of
Windows.
In five minutes you will be ready to manage projects and
portfolios of any size and complexity.
Step 1. Create Project
Select menu item
Create a new project
and enter its name,
code, start date and
required finish date
(used for backward
scheduling).
Here you may also
define project baseline,
project date format and
the default number of
decimal places.
However, this can be
done later.
Press OK and go to the
projects Activity Gantt
Chart.
Step 1.

A key to working with Spider


Project is right mouse click:
Any object properties and menus
will appear after right mouse-
clicking on the object row number
or Gantt Chart bar.
This is the pop-up menu for any
project phase (WBS element).
You can select what can be done
with this object and what reports
on this object to show.
There are also the shortcut keys for
usual tasks.
Step 2. Create main WBS

The development of a
project model usually starts
with creating WBS.
Our project consists of 4
phases:
Drainage
Base
Surface
Utilities
Spider Project permits to create
The project WBS can be multiple WBS for the same
created in the Gantt Chart or project.
using WBS Chart. Examples: Deliverable WBS,
Process WBS, Responsibility WBS,
Contract WBS, etc.
Step 3. Create project activities

It may be done by opening the phase menu or using Ins


key.
We suggest to follow the following rules for creating
activities:
1. Activity must be measurable in physical units for
planning and monitoring its amount of work. We call it
Activity Volume.
2. Activity should be performed by the same resource team
from start to end.
3. Activity should belong to one work package only.
4. If activity duration exceeds one week (usual period for
performance analysis) its volume of work should be
easily measurable.
Step 3. Create project activities

There are following types of activities in Spider Project:


1. Duration (initial information is activity duration that does
not depend on assigned resources)
2. Productivity (initial information is activity volume of work
and duration is calculated after total productivity of assigned
resources is known)
3. Hammock (activity lasts from one event to another)
4. Milestone: zero duration activity which is an event
5. Switch (zero duration activity that has two positions, Yes
and No. Positions may depend on user-defined conditions. If
Yes, one branch of the network is selected, if No, another.
We call it conditional scheduling)
Step 3. Create
project activities
6. Triggers: activities
representing risk events
that may happen with
user-defined probabilities.
If a trigger occurs, the
project may proceed in
different ways, each with
its own probability.
Triggers are used in Monte
Carlo risk analysis. In
deterministic scheduling,
certain positions of triggers
are selected.
Step 3. Create project activities

In the construction projects,


most activities are of the
Productivity type. Their
duration is defined by the
productivity of assigned
resources.
An example of Duration type
activity is concrete curing or
activities performed by
contractors.
We have entered our projects
activities and their respective
volumes of work.
Step 4. Define cost structure
Now let's define project cost components. If some of these
use different currencies, you must enter the respective
exchange rate in their unit cost.
Cost components may be calculated using the formulas
such as indirect cost in our example.
Cost components may be included in the cost centers. In
particular, we will create the cost center Expenses to
compare the internal cost with the contract cost for the
same activities.
Step 5. Define project
materials

Some of these will be assigned to project activities, others


(like fuel) will be used by renewable resources (machines)
to do their work.
Materials can be consumed continuously or discretely (like
road signs) we cannot install one half of the road sign.
Like cost components, materials can be combined into the
material centers. It is not required in our project but can be
useful in some projects. You may need to have the reports
generated for material groups such as all pipes if different
pipes are used.
Step 6. Define Resources
Now we can define project resources
and enter their available quantities.
Initial quantities may be adjusted after
the project schedule is calculated.
In our project, machines consume fuel.
For labor resources, per-hour cost is
entered as labor cost component; for
machines, the costs of work are entered
as Machine cost component.
Suppliers do not have per-hour costs. A
suppliers cost is defined by the contract
as assignment cost (fixed or per work
volume unit).
Step 7. Define Skills
Our project uses two different excavators
and two different bulldozers.
They can do the same work although with
different productivities and costs.
We have to choose which of these to assign and our choice
can be wrong. Before scheduling, we dont know which
resources will be available at any given moment. An activity
may be delayed because the required resource is busy on
another activity while other resources with the required skill
are available.
Therefore we will define the resource skills (excavator and
bulldozer) and assign skills rather than concrete resources.
Spider Project selects which resource to use on particular
activities in the course of resource-constrained scheduling,
based on their availability, productivity, and cost.
Step 8. Define Crews

Now we proceed to create the


construction crews and then
assign these crews to project
activities.
Crews may include Skills and we
will know who will do what only
after project leveling.
The crew resources may be
changed at any moment and it
will change all future resource
assignments if Update Content is
selected.
Step 9. Assign Resources

Now, the crews (called multi-resources) may


be assigned to project activities.
Assigning a multi-resource (crew), we assign
all resources and skills that belong to the
assigned multi-resource.
Using multi-resources makes resource
assignment process and what-if evaluations
much easier.
Step 10. Define
Resource Productivity
Usually productivities are assigned to the
main (driving) resources although in
some cases productivities may be defined
for the whole crews (multi-resources).
In our sample project, the software will
select the excavators and bulldozers that
will work on different crews and this
selection will determine the crews
productivity and the respective activity
duration.
Step 11. Define
Dependencies

Spider Project supports all standard types of activity


dependencies as well as additional strict and double
dependencies.
In Spider Project, you can define Time lags and Volume lags
(in volume units or as percentage).
For Time lags, it is possible to define special lag calendars.
The number of links between any two activities is not limited.
Step 12. Define Calendars
In Spider Project, calendars must be assigned to activities,
resources, dependency lags and project phases.
A time will only be regarded as working time if defined as
such in both activity and assigned resource calendars.
Calendars must be created and then assigned to project
objects.
Our project is simple and uses one 6 days, 10 work hours per
day calendar only .
Next Steps

We are almost ready for scheduling.


Almost, because we have assigned
resource skills but the selection of a
concrete resource may depend on
resource cost.
In Spider Project, default skilled-resource
selection priority is activity cost Spider
Project selects the resources with the
required skill that will do the work
cheaper.
However, Spider Project users may set
other priorities, e.g. maximum crew
productivity.
Step 13. Define activity and
assignment costs
In our sample project, the expenses
depend on resource and material
costs, but the contract cost is
assigned directly.
Activity cost may be assigned as
fixed, as in our project, per-hour cost
or per volume unit cost.
Besides, we have set the supplier
cost as assignment cost and will pay
the supplier for each volume unit.
Step 14. Assign materials
Materials may be assigned the same way: to activities,
resources, and assignments. We have assigned materials to
activities per work volume unit. Fuel was already assigned when
we entered the resource data.
Step 15. Schedule!
Now we are ready for resource-constrained scheduling:
- We have defined project activities, resources, and materials
- We have created and assigned resource skills and crews
- We have assigned materials to project activities and
resources
- We have defined activity, resource, materials, and
assignment costs
- We have defined activity dependencies
- We have defined activity, resource and lag calendars
- We have entered project constraints (in our case it is
resource availability)
Lets schedule!
Step 15. Resource-constrained scheduling
options
Spider Project offers
many scheduling
options, including the
unique resource-
constrained schedule
optimization.
The Standard method
implies manual
selection of leveling
priorities while
Optimization Plus will
find the best possible
schedule for our project
automatically.
Project Schedule
Spider Project optimizes project schedule and calculates
Resource Critical Path.
Project Budget
Project budget was calculated together with project schedule.
With two parallel budgets, the Internal budget (Expenses)
and the Contract budget, we can forecast and control future
profits.
Resource requirements were also calculated and may be
adjusted if resource availability changes.
Resource Gantt Chart
Material Gantt Chart
Material Gantt Chart shows when, on what activities and in
what quantities material is planned to be consumed.
Time-Location Chart
Reports: S-curves
Reports: Tables
Reports
Multiple Charts on the same screen (Resource Histograms, S-
curves, trends, Earned Value, etc.)
Typical Fragments
We created a Typical Fragment, a small project that simulates
the execution of a typical part of the companys projects.
We suggest creating a Typical Fragment Library, a set of
typical fragments to use in future projects.
With this library, creating a project model is easy:
Create project WBS (or use the template),
Define the volumes of work of the WBS work packages,
Replace work packages with typical fragments,
automatically adjusting activity volumes and durations,
Link activities of different fragments.
Typical Fragments
When a typical fragment is inserted into
the schedule, you will be asked to define
what to do with the phase and activity
codes in the added fragment (we decide
to add a postfix a) and what to do with
activity volumes and duration (here we
multiplied the values by 2.5 because in
our project the length of a similar road
section is 2.5 km).
In Spider Project, activities have a
special property, scalability. It defines
whether or not activity volumes and
duration should be multiplied when the
fragment is inserted.
Reference books

Creating this fragment, we entered a lot of data that can be


used in future projects:
Project Resources, Materials, Cost Components, Cost Centers,
Calendars, Resource Skills, Resource Crews for different types
of work (Multi-resources), Resource Assignment Productivity,
Material Consumption per Volume Unit for different types of
work, Unit Costs, Resource Workloads on typical assignments,
etc.
It is reasonable to store this data in the corporate databases
(reference books) and use when necessary rather than enter
these data again and again.
Examples of
Reference Books
Reference Books

With reference books, it is sufficient to enter activity, resource


or assignment type and work volume and come up with
activity cost, resource, and material requirements, resource
assignments productivity, activity duration and calendars, etc.
With the comprehensive corporate reference books, it is hard
to make an error and everyone may be assured that their
scheduling and cost data are consistent with the corporate
norms and standards.
If anything changes, it is sufficient to make changes in the
reference books and apply these changes to all future works
on all projects based on these reference books.
Risk Simulation

We created the deterministic (most likely) project model for


building 1 km of the road but in real life all project estimates
are not certain.
Resource productivity can be higher or lower, material costs
can be higher or lower, risk events may happen or not, etc.
Spider Project simulates uncertainties and risks and helps to
determine reliable project targets and create sufficient
contingency reserves.
Spider Project includes two methods of risk simulation, each
with its own advantages and weaknesses:
The Monte Carlo risk simulation and Three Scenarios method
Risk Simulation
To simulate initial data uncertainty, it is necessary to
collect and enter three estimates (optimistic, most likely, and
pessimistic) of the data used for project scheduling and
budgeting.
Risk Simulation

Risk events are simulated as trigger activities in the project


schedule, each having a probability of happening.
When a risk (trigger) occurs, further project activities,
resources, calendars, costs, etc. may change.
A trigger activity may be followed by branching, each branch
with its own probability.
Each branch represents potential development of a risk event
and appropriate risk response.
Besides, additional corrective actions may be simulated by
conditional branches using switch activities. Example: if the
project is more than one month late, we will use additional
resources.
MC Risk Simulation

This probabilistic model is used for the Monte Carlo


simulation.
In our project, we enter the data uncertainty but do not
simulate risk events (this is Spider Intro and our project is
just a fragment of a real project).
In the Monte Carlo risk analysis dialog, we can select which
probability distributions to calculate, which initial data
distributions to use, the number of iterations, etc.
In Spider Project, the Monte Carlo simulation takes into
account all time, resource, material, and cost constraints,
which makes Monte Carlo Risk Analysis in Spider Project
outstanding.
MC Risk Simulation
MC Risk Simulation: Probability Curves

Examples of MC
probability curves
MC Risk Simulation: Scatter Diagram

The probability of finishing our project in less than 34 days


exceeds 80%, spending less than 2,920,000 exceeds 68.5%.
However, the probability of meeting both targets is only
60.65%.
MC Risk Simulation: Criticality Index

Criticality Index shows the


probability of an activity
becoming critical.
In some schedules, non-
critical activities have a
high criticality index and
thus require serious
attention.
3 Scenarios Risk Simulation

Using the three scenario method we create not one but


three project models: the optimistic, the most likely, and
the pessimistic.
Based on these models, Spider Project creates probability
distributions and calculates project buffers necessary for
achieving project goals with user-defined probabilities.
Targets may be set, based on the required probabilities of
achieving.
However, target dates and costs can be also set from the
start. In this case, Spider Project will calculate the
probabilities of meeting these targets.
3 Scenarios Risk Simulation

3 scenarios probability curves are intentionally wider for the


reasons that will be discussed in the Spider Project Risk
Analysis presentation.
3 Scenarios Risk Simulation
We recommend using the optimistic project scenario for
managing project workforce and estimating buffer
consumption by analyzing the success probability trends.
When the probabilities of meeting project targets (success
probabilities) show negative trends, the corrective actions
should be considered.
When the actual data are entered in any of these 3 versions,
all 3 are updated and synchronized.
Some Spider Project users use this feature to manage 3
schedules in parallel:
- Optimistic: for workforce management,
- Most Likely: for project management team,
- Pessimistic: as contract schedule
Schedule Analysis Tools

Spider Project includes many tools for schedule analysis:


- Critical Schedule
- Start and Finish Buffers
- Different types of activity and assignment floats (total float,
free float, start and finish flexes, super float)
- Resource Critical Path
- Activity DRAGs
Schedule Analysis Filters

Predefined Spider Project filters include:


- activities without successors
- activities without predecessors
- all activities preceding the selected activity
- all activities succeeding the selected activity
- activities that use certain resources and skills
- any filter for project dependencies

Any other filters are also available together with the formulas
that link fields and cells, including the recursive formulas.
Schedule Analysis
Critical Schedule, DRAGs, Floats
Other Features
In this introductory presentation, we have covered only a
small part of Spider Project planning options and features.
If we had more time, we could discuss:
- Multiple Work, Resource and Material Breakdown Structures,
- Part Time Resource Assignments
- Variable Resource Assignments
- Modeling work in several shifts
- Variable Material Cost
- Cost and Material Leveling
- Cost Discounting
- Investment Analysis (NPV, IRR, Payback Period)
And a lot more.
What was unique in what weve done?

We created a project model based on the volumes (amounts)


of work to be done, and assigned resource productivity
We used volume lags
We created the resource skills and Spider Project selected
which resources to use on the schedule activities
We created and assigned the resource crews
We created the cost components and cost centers
We assigned costs as unit costs and assignment costs
We defined and assigned material consumption per work
volume unit
We created two parallel budgets for the same project
What was unique in what weve done?

We have optimized project resource-constrained schedule


We created a project fragment that may be used in future
projects
We created the corporate reference books, which enables us
to apply the corporate norms and standards to future projects
We created different project plan reports including Resource
and Material Gantt Charts and Time-Location Chart
We simulated risks, taking into account all project constraints,
and created project time and cost buffers.
There are many other useful and unique Spider Project
features that will be discussed in other presentations.
For future contacts:
E-mail: v.liberzon@gmail.com
Web: www.spiderproject.com